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First harvests are underway, but Crisis (IPC Phase 3) persists in the East and Southeast

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Central African Republic
  • August 2019
First harvests are underway, but Crisis (IPC Phase 3) persists in the East and Southeast

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  • Key Messages
  • PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH JANUARY 2020
  • Key Messages
    • The small harvest is underway and the main harvest will begin in October, which will seasonally improve food availability. However, ongoing heavy rains and insecurity continue to restrict the delivery of food assistance and disrupt market functioning. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in the East and Southeast, although other areas are likely to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    • In July, the delivery of humanitarian food assistance was not significant in Haute-Kotto, Basse-Kotto, Mbomou, or Haut-Mbomou. Only 11 percent of the population of Haut-Mbomou received assistance and no data are available on other prefectures. Heavy rainfall through October, combined with insecurity, is expected to continue to limit delivery of food assistance. Most households are likely to have food consumption gaps indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3), but access to limited harvests and wild foods are expected to prevent worse outcomes.

    ZONECURRENT ANOMALIESPROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    According to a July update from WFP and the Commission of Population Movement, the current IDP population is 581,000. The latest IOM update in June reported an IDP population of 464,000. There is likely a difference between displacement tracking methodologies, as field reports do not indicate a rapid increase in new displacement from June to July.

    The return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to their places of origin is expected to continue. In neighboring Cameroon, more than 5,700 Central Africans were registered to voluntarily return as of July 31st, according to UNHCR.

    National

    Commodity prices increased in August compared to the same period last year, driven by market supply disruptions as a result of deteriorated road conditions during the rainy season and due to the frequency of theft perpetrated against traders.

    The availability of new crops is expected to replenish household food stocks and strengthen market supply, contributing to a seasonal decline in food prices. However, prices will remain high in remote areas with poor market functioning until the end of the rainy season. 

    Prefectures in the East and Southeast 

    40 percent of the total IDP population were located in eastern and southeastern prefectures as of August. In these areas, humanitarian and market access remains difficult due to poor road conditions during the rainy season and due to insecurity. In July, only 11 percent of the population of Haut-Mbomou received food assistance. Data are not available for the remaining prefectures.

    Based on the number of beneficiaries reached in July, food assistance is expected to reach less than 25 percent of the population in August and September. Information on planned assistance from October to January has not yet been released. Although households have access to limited harvests and wild foods, food deficits are expected.

     


    PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH JANUARY 2020

    After the delay in the onset of the rainy season, normal to heavy rainfall since June has increased seasonal totals to above average in most of CAR (Figure 1). In the east and parts of the west, such as Paoua, persistent and heavy rains caused flooding in August, negatively affecting road access and market functioning. At the end of August, much of the east is facing moderate to high excess rainfall and associated flood risk, particularly Haute-Kotto, Vakaga, Bamingui-Bangoran and Ouham (Figure 2). On the other hand, moderate rainfall deficits persist in Bangui, Kemo, and Ombella-Mpoko prefectures, but rainfall amounts are adequate to support crop development. During the remainder of the rainy season from September to October, precipitation is expected to be above average in the east and normal in the west (ACMAD, August 2019).

    Prospects for agricultural production remain favorable and it is likely that production in 2019 will be above the five-year average, but below the pre-crisis average. The area under cultivation is assumed to have increased given the relative improvement in security conditions and household access to fields. The return of IDPs and refugees to their places of origin has also contributed to an increase in area planted. In addition, many households have received free distributions of seeds and other inputs from government or humanitarian partners. Most recently, the government and its partners provided seeds in August to about 135,000 farmers; however, this distribution came too late for planting in some areas. Although national production is expected to be higher, local production in the Haute-Kotto and Haut-Mbomou prefectures is expected to be below the five-year average. In these prefectures, IDPs account for 90 and 60 percent of the prefecture population, respectively, and their access to the fields is still limited due to insecurity.

    The small harvests began in July in the south and in August in the north. Households are consuming their own crops or are buying these foods from the market, including corn, peanuts, green vegetables and other products like mushrooms, caterpillars, and wild yam. However, staple food prices remain high in urban centers, due to high transportation costs, illicit taxes, and difficulties in drying crops such as cassava during the rainy season. In addition, a crop disease is reportedly affecting cassava in and around Kemo prefecture, the main supply zone for the city of Bangui. Compared with August 2018, the price of maize increased by an average 22 percent across Bangui and Bambari markets and 50 percent across Bangassou and Bria markets. In some individual markets, the price of cassava rose 70 percent.

    The availability of the small harvest is expected to gradually lead to improvements in food security. IDP sites and host communities with a high presence of IDPs are most likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), particularly at Nana-Gribizi, Ouaka, Ouham. The main harvest in October, including millet and sorghum crops in the north, will lead to more widespread improvement in food availability and access, even in urban centers. Some households may even improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1). However, increased insecurity during the dry season can lead to localized negative impacts on food security. Community conflict and conflict related to transhumance movements are typical.

    In the prefectures of Haute-Kotto, Basse-Kotto, Mbomou, and Haute-Mbomou - where insecurity and conflict limit agricultural activities and cause shortages in market supply and high staple food prices - IDPs and host households continue to face food consumption gaps. Due to poor road conditions and more frequent security incidents, food assistance is not delivered on a consistent basis. In July, WFP was able to deliver food from Uganda, reaching about 7,600 beneficiaries in the Obo area with 20-day rations, who represent about 11 percent of the population of Haut-Mbomou prefecture. Although these households are harvesting some crops for consumption, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to persist through January.

    Figures Map of precipitation anomalies. Cumulative rainfall is average to above average since June across most of CAR. However, moder

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Basin excess rainfall map as of August 30, 2019. Moderate to high excess rain and associated flood risk is observed across th

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Central African Republic Seasonal Calendar
Rainy season: April to October in the south and July to September in the north. S

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

    Source: FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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